By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Blue Ponies flashed back to the past and ran their one-back offense that jump started the team to its first victory of the year.
Havre, 1-2 in the Central A and 1-3 overall, downed the Park High Rangers (0-3, 0-4) 35-15 in conference play Friday at Livingston.
We made some adjustments this week in practice and it seemed to work, second-year head coach Dan Olson said. The short passing game opened up the run and some great efforts from our running back made some positive gains in that aspect.
Havre notched 263 yards rushing and were led by junior Brent Finneman who had nine rushes for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
Brent Finneman did a nice job of running the football, Olson said.
In the first quarter, the Blue Ponies scored three times to lead 21-0 going into the second quarter.
Senior Nate Baltrusch, on a hand-off from senior quarterback Ricky Brown, scored first on a 38-yard run.
Finneman struck next for Havre on a four-yard run while Baltrusch struck again, this time on the receiving end, when he caught a 55-yard pass from Brown for the score.
Junior David Knight connected on each extra point for the Ponies.
Also on the ground, Brown had seven rushes for 68 yards and one touchdown, which came in the fourth quarter. He went 8-of-13 from his quarterback position for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
I think Ricky Brown threw the ball exceptionally well and ran the option really well, Olson said. He had a great game.
Junior running back Kris Myers had four rushes for 33 yards and senior running back Ryan McIntosh had three carries for 15 yards.
Myers, who came off the bench, had two sacks from his defensive end position for Havre.
The Ponies continued to gain ground with junior Danny Wirtzberger carrying the ball four times for 30 yards. Wirtzberger, from the quarterback position later in the game, went 1-for-3 for 10 yards in the passing game.
Wirtzberger also played tough at the receiving end for the Ponies where he had three receptions for 73 yards.
Danny Wirtzberger had a fantastic game at receiver, Olson said.
He was joined on the ground by sophomore Jacob Szudera who had three rushes for 12 yards and junior Joey Roman who had four carries for six yards.
On the receiving end of the offense, senior Nate Baltrusch had two receptions for 77 yards, including two touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver Doug Kallenberger had two receptions for 17 yards.
Senior tight end David Heberly had one reception for 10 yards and was joined by senior tight end Landon Grant, who had one reception for 10 yards, including a touchdown in the second quarter.
Defensively, the Rangers were held scoreless until the final six minutes of the game when they tallied its only 15 points of the game on on pass play and a rush.
The Blue Ponies gave up fewer than 200 total yards to Livingston. The Rangers notched 88 yards rushing and 109 passing.
On the defensive side of the ball, Olson said, Nate Baltrusch played very well from his corner back position. Tyler Bebee (6-foot, 190-lb. senior linebacker) once again had a super game and Jesse Suek (6-foot-3, 210-lb.) played very well from his defensive end position.
The Blue Ponies held Livingston to only two first downs in the first half.
Defensively, especially in the first half, we did a great job, said defensive coordinator John Larsen.
This week, for them, we changed our approach a little bit. We were more aggressive and we did more stunting and it paid off, Larsen said.
Brown, Kallenberger, Baltrusch and senior defensive back Jay Rucinsky, from their safety and corner positions, placed threatening pressure on the Rangers quarterback.
They did a really nice job of stuffing the run, getting in the back field and chasing their poor quarterback around, Larsen said. We want him to be running for his life.
Junior linebacker Ryan Fink snatched the first Blue Pony interception of the 1999 season. Last year, the Ponies had 22 on the year.
We got to have fun and it was really nice to get our kids some confidence, Larsen said. We had a great crowd down there at Livingston and a lot of people and a lot of support for us.
Havre returns home and will play at Blue Pony Stadium Friday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 when it meets Central A opponent Belgrade.